Nostra Aetate drafts
- Written by Secretariat for Christian Unity
March and May 1965
[On the Jewish Religion]
As the Sacred Synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham’s stock.
Thus the Church of Christ (……….) acknowledges that, according to God’s mysterious saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are already found among the Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets…….
The Church, therefore, can never forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through this people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy was once pleased to enter into the Old Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles. Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles, thus making the two one in Himself
As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation, nor did a greater part of the Jews accept the Gospel; indeed not just a few opposed its spreading. Nevertheless, as the Apostle testifies, the Jews are still greatly beloved by God, whose gifts and call are irrevocable, for the sake of the Fathers.
True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews therefore should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this came from the Holy Scriptures. All should then ensure that, in catechetical work or in the preaching of the Word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.
Furthermore, in her rejection of every form of persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecution or displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.
Besides, as the Church has always held and still holds, Christ freely faced His passion and death, because of the sins of all people and out of infinite love, in order that all may reach salvation. Therefore, Christian preaching is to proclaim the cross of Christ as the sign of God’s all-embracing love and as the fountain from which every grace flows.
[Translation from the original Latin text by Maria Brutti, see Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Ecumenici Vaticani Secundi (Vaticanis: Typis Polyglottis, 1977), vol. 4, pars 4, 693-695.]